"Hidden Shame" as written by and Elvis Costello....
I'm sorry to say that you don't know me
I'm sad in ways you never understood
Each time I try to tell the ugly truth
You always let it pass you by

You said I'd never tell you a lie
Just because I could
Did you really think I was a bad man?

You always said that that should be my middle name
But you don't know the half of it
You don't know how that name fits
You don't know my hidden shame

Hidden shame, shame, shame that I can't get free
From the blame and the torture and the misery
Must it be my secret for eternity?
Till you know my hidden shame you really don't know me

Well, there's a different kind of prison
And it don't even have to look much like a cell
It's already on your mind, boy, we can see it in your eyes
So, here's the bars and walls as well

Well, you know I'm never coming home, babe
You said you'd stand by me until I cleared my name
Sure it's easy to be strong
When you know the charge is wrong
But the days and weeks get long
When you've got a hidden shame

Hidden shame, shame, shame that I can't get free
From the blame and the torture and the misery
Must it be my secret for eternity?
Till you know my hidden shame you really don't know me

I had a friend when I was just a boy
We were like brothers, we would run and hide
And we went walking on a high hillside
And I really don't how it happened

He turned to me and had this strange look in his eye
And not a single word was spoken
I must have pushed him but I don't remember why
And all at once, he lay there broken
And I walked down without him and I didn't even sigh

Hidden shame, shame, shame that I can't get free
From the blame and the torture and the misery
Must it be my secret for eternity?
Till you know my hidden shame you really don't know me

They say you always hurt the one you love
And I'm not saying if I did or if I didn't
But like my shame that kind of love is always hidden
They locked me up here for the ideas in my head
They never got me for the thing I really did

Hidden shame, shame, shame that I can't get free
From the blame and the torture and the misery
Must it be my secret for eternity?
Till you know my hidden shame you really don't know me


Lyrics submitted by Chalissa

"Hidden Shame" as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Hidden Shame song meanings
Add your thoughts

1 Comment

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentRepressed homosexuality? It doesn't *have* to be that, but it does fit. It wasn't a run-of-the-mill argument that led to the death, because we're told "not a single word was spoken." I'm thinking the childhood friend made some kind of sexual advance, made overt something that had been subtler between them ("We would run and hide"), and it was too much for the narrator, and he lashed out and he's always been guilty.

    In the final verse, "I'm not saying if I did or if I didn't"...he's already said he must have pushed the boy to his death, so it isn't that. It would seem to be "I'm not saying if I did or if I didn't [love him] / But like my shame that kind of love [between men] is always hidden."

    This was written for Johnny Cash, whose "Folsom Prison Blues"-style recording is excellent.
    TokedDingoon December 16, 2014   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain